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Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever Hardcover – 8 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (8 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865479801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865479807
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.4 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 349,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Can literature change your life? Yes ... along came Will Hermes, who cost me several hundred pounds on iTunes and ruptured my relationship with guitars (Nick Hornby Believer magazine)

It was the best of times, it was the best of places: Will Hermes captures the creative incandescence of New York in those five years that changed music (Richard Williams)

Brings depth and discernment and an eye for odd detail, making his book an essential work of cultural history (Luc Sante) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kirk McElhearn TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover
First, a disclaimer: I knew Will very well back in the mid- to late-70s; we hung out together and went to many concerts. (A whole group of us were regular concert goers.) So my opinion of this book is certainly influenced by that personal connection.

In any case, Will looks at a somewhat arbitrary 5-year period in the 70s (he easily could have extended it a year or two in either direction), and goes into great detail about the NYC music scene during that time. Not only did it see the rise of groups from CBGBs and Max's Kansas City (Talking Heads, Ramones and others), the minimalists (Steve Reich, Philip Glass), performance artists, and the early days of hip-hop, but it also was a key time for the ascendancy of salsa, singer-songwriter rock (Springsteen, Patti Smith, etc.) and jazz. Will was always an eclectic listener, and among my friends, was the one with the most varied record collection. He writes here about all these styles of music - yes, even disco, which sucked - with erudition and feeling.

As I look back on the 70s from a distance, I realize that not only were those formative years for my own musical tastes, but that they did, indeed, have lasting influence. Will points out how much of this gestation was under the radar for years before becoming influential, and highlights a number of forgotten musicians and artists that were essential back in the day. (And there were plenty of non-NYC bands that passed through: the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, Genesis - okay, I was a prog rock fan), Santana, the country rock bands like Lynard Skynard and the Marshall Tucker Band, and so much more.)

New York City in the late 70s was an amazing city for concerts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Master Shake on 21 July 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a good book as far as it goes, and it definitely gives a sense of the massive amount of musical creativity in NYC in the mid-70s, but ultimately that's about all it does. While it's trying to do something different to, say, 'England's Dreaming' by jon Savage, it doesn't get anywhere near the depth, importance, and perceptiveness of that book. More on the visual arts in all forms and fashion too (and possibly literature - why does nobody who writes about Television ever discuss poetry?) I really can't agree with Nick Hornby that this is 'social history' - it's not - it's music writing with occasional historical references. Various bits of history come and go, and are dealt with fairly well, but they're really nothing more than throwaway references - the Son of Sam killer, for instance, pops up in a fairly sinister way at a couple of points, but later on other shootings he was responsible for are tossed away in half a sentence.

also - I realise the author didn't have an indefinite amount of space - but the choices of which people to follow seems arbitrary. It's nice to see Latin music given some attention, and jazz too, but there's nothing about, for instance, broadway musicals.

Oddly for a book like this, the personal recollections are among the best bits - I'd have liked more of them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Satchwell VINE VOICE on 21 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really interesting book...I guess it was quite different to what I expected. I'm a big fan of ..I guess late 70's Punk,New Wave ...whatever tag you want to apply.
So I thought this would cover my usual points of interest....Talking Heads/Ramones/Patti Smith/Television and Richard Hell..Noo York Dolls.
Well you get this..but you also get so much more about what else was going on musically in New York....loads of stuff running along in parallell...like the Disco and latin stuff
Plus...the birth and development of rap and graffiti culture.
Lets just say my mind was opened..!!...an amazing amount happened in such a short space of time...and I was lucky enough to be a teenager at this time..Ok....so I wasn't hanging out in the Bronx..
more like the bus stop in a small market town in Shropshire...!! but music was soooo....exciting for me back then..
A great read...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Overview of the NY music scenes in the 70's punk/new wave , salsa, Reich and Glass , Jazz and all points in between , Springsteen being an adopted native. From punch-ups and squabbles to the state of a certain gig's toilets many bases are linked and covered and by the end of the book you'll want to investigate people like Meredith Monk and Reuben Blades. Yes, Talking Heads feature prominently as do Lou Read and his missus . The only thing possibly missing is the link with poetry and literature (other than Ginsberg and Burroughs), comedy/stand up and the visual arts (other than Andy Warhol) . A book to keep near the bedside for quick browsing that can last an hour or two , utterly reccomended
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unmissable! You are right there in the 70's and you will be searching for all the tracks it mentiones that you don't know yet.
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